Never Let Go
By Christie Meier
Do you ever wake up in the morning and think the day ahead will be good because you planned it out the night before? I am a planner. I like to know what my next day and the coming week look like. I use a calendar planning book, writing down appointments, reminders and tasks. It keeps me focused and helps me not forgot important dates and things in general.
It was a sunny morning when I awoke that September morning. I had eaten breakfast and was thinking about what to wear when I received a phone call from my friend, Jil. She said, “can you come over and talk to Jane. She is asking about what heaven will be like.” Sweet Jane was dying of leukemia and I had been walking this journey with the family for the last year. I panicked slightly as it is difficult to talk frankly to an 8-year-old about what happens after death. That doesn’t seem like something anyone should have to do….ever. My day’s plans had changed drastically. I immediately prayed, asking God for strength and wisdom. Then I called my husband, who is my rock, and asked him to pray. He was on it. As I drove to Jil’s house, I teetered between crying and panic to calm and peace. Lord, please let the latter prevail.
When I arrived, Jane was laying on the bed. She looked small and beautiful. My panic resolved into love and a feeling of wanting to hold this child. I crawled in bed with her, touching our foreheads as I told her about God’s great love for her. I told her that death was like a blink of an eye.She would close her eyes and the next thing, Jesus would be there by her side to take her to heaven. She was afraid of being without her mom and dad. I told her that God’s time is not like our time and in another blink of an eye, her loved ones would be with her in heaven as well. I asked her about her favorites things and said I think heaven will be filled with those things. I assured her that she would be taken care of and that her family would be taken care of. God was like that.
I quietly sang songs to her. Song like, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, “You Are My Sunshine” (minus the verses…..if you’ve ever heard the verses, they’re weird….haha) and “Give Me Jesus”. Between singing, I whispered how much she was loved by her mom and dad and sisters and as much as they loved her, God loved her 100 times more. I said many people loved her and that she would see everyone again in heaven.
As the day went on, her words became fewer. I knew she was listening to the comforting words her mom spoke, her sister’s voices and felt her dad’s presence. The scene was one of great sadness yet there was a peace that hung in the air. God was present.
It was a day that no one planned….no indicator on a calendar would announce such a profound loss. All the planning in the world does not prepare you for the abyss that this family fell into when Jane died. But I know without a doubt that God was present. I know without a doubt that Jane felt Jesus. There was a poignant moment when Jil had stepped away from the bed for a moment….and I mean literally a moment….and Jane called out, “get mom!” She died minutes later.
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As a minister, I have been at the bedside of many people who have passed from this life to the next. It is holy ground. I believe in the promises that nothing separates us from God’s love. Jane entered into that love on September 6, 2012. She will be forever remembered and cherished. God gave her gifts even in her short life on earth. She was compassionate and kind. Those qualities are exemplified in her family, friends and strangers who never knew her personally.
My day may not have started out as I planned but it ended with the promise that God holds us and never lets go of us, even when our day, our month, our year goes off the path we had planned for ourselves.
Jane has taught me to love more, be kind more and trust in God’s grace more.
Today, sing a little, “You Are My Sunshine” and think of Jane.
Christie Meier is a Minister of Word and Service in the ELCA church. She is married to Phil and they have three grown children who are all married. They love spending time with their seven grandchildren. Christie enjoys music, books and Peeps....yes, you heard it correctly. She loves life and loves Jesus.